National News-Daily Digest: 4 Key Updates
1. Rafale deal: Supreme Court tells Centre to give details of decision-making process
The Supreme Court asked the government to provide details of the “decision-making process” behind the Rafale deal with France, but clarified that it does not want information on “pricing” and “technical suitability” of the fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
2. Odisha braces for Cyclone Titli, five coastal districts on red alert
The Odisha government has declared red alert in five coastal districts and intensified preparations to combat Cyclone Titli, which is likely to hit the state.
The cyclone is presently hovering over the Bay of Bengal, around 200 km off Gopalpur in Ganjam district, and is expected to make landfall first between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Gopalpur in Odisha. The coastal districts of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur in Odisha are expected to be in the eye of the storm and have been put on red alert, they said.
The cyclone is presently hovering over the Bay of Bengal, around 200 km off Gopalpur in Ganjam district, and is expected to make landfall first between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Gopalpur in Odisha early on Thursday morning.
With rainfall — up to 200 millimeters — expected to lash some districts, the state government will also monitor the possibility of floods in Rushikulya and Vamsadhara rivers. Heavy rain is expected in Cuttack, Boudh, Dhenkanal, Kalahandi, Bhadrak and Balasore.
3. Cabinet approves merger of National Council for Vocational Training, NCVT and National Skill Development Agency, NSDA to establish National Council for Vocational Education and Training, NCVET
The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of the existing regulatory institutions in the skills space – National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The primary functions of NCVET will include –
- recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers;
- approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs);
- indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies;
- research and information dissemination;
- grievance redressal.
The Council would be headed by a Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members. Since NCVET is proposed to be set up through merger of two existing bodies, the existing infrastructure and resources will be utilized for the most part. In addition, a few more posts will be created for its smooth functioning. The regulator will follow the best practices of regulatory processes, which will help ensure that it performs its functions professionally and as per the applicable laws.
4. India’s First National Environment Survey To Kick Off In 2019
India’s first ever National Environment Survey (NES) will be kicked off in January, 2019 to map environment data of 55 districts across 24 states and 3 Union Territories. The NES will rank all districts on their environmental performance and document their best green practices based on various environmental parameters. The earliest first set of complete green data from this survey will be available in 2020. The first NES will be carried out by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) and its hubs and resource partners across the country. It will be done through grid-based approach, using grids measuring 9×9 km to collect comprehensive data on various environmental parameters. These parameters will include air, water, soil quality; solid, hazardous and e-waste; emission inventory; forest & wildlife; flora & fauna; wetlands, lakes, rivers and other water bodies. It will also assess carbon sequestration potential of all the districts across the country. The green data from this survey will provide important tool in hands of policy-makers for decision making at all levels – district, state and national. The survey will fully map and create emission inventory, provide valuation of ecosystem services and collate research in the field of environment. Initially the survey will be focusing on 55 districts and later will be scaled up to all districts in the country. The skilled manpower required for the survey will be provided from persons skilled and trained under MoEFCC’s Green Skill Development Programme.